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Poor farmers part with yams, palm oil as premium to enroll in health insurance scheme  

Farmers in rural areas in Oyo State who wanted to enrol in the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) but lack the financial capacity to…

Farmers in rural areas in Oyo State who wanted to enrol in the Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) but lack the financial capacity to pay the premium for the enrolment have resorted to giving out their farm produce to the agency in lieu of cash.

The Executive Secretary of OYSHIA, Dr Olusola Akande disclosed this while highlighting the efforts of the agency in ensuring that all residents of the state are enrolled in the scheme so as to achieve Universal Health Coverage.

He spoke at a media dialogue on improving access and uptake healthcare for marginalised women and children in Oyo State which was organised by Oyo State Ministry of Information in collaboration with OYSHIA and the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

According to him, “Many people who would have loved to enrol in our health insurance programme but lack financial capacity to pay the premium voluntarily agreed to give us yams and palm oil and other farm produce in lieu of cash to be paid for the premium.”

“In the agency, we have set up a marketing section that is helping us to sell the yams and palm oil and other farm produce and when we sell them, we help the owners to keep the money until it is enough to pay the premium and enrol them”.

He said health insurance in the state has recorded 100,000 enrolees in the last 18 months of its operations and that the agency’s target was to hit 450,000 to cover five percent of the population of the state in the next six months.

Akande said the goal of the health insurance was to provide quality healthcare services for the people of the state without experiencing catastrophic health expenditure.

Akande said no fewer than 100 pregnant women in the state have delivered through Caesarean section (CS) done under the health insurance scheme and that thousands of residents of the state have benefited from the scheme.

He expressed worry that many people are still not aware of the activities of OYSHIA and sought the support of the media to propagate the importance of health insurance to the people so that more people would enrol.

Akande said OYSHIA has been rated very high in terms of performance and assured that the agency would not relent in making sure that the people of the state enjoy quality healthcare without expending their entire savings on medical bills.

While speaking, the director, Press and Public Relation, Oyo State Ministry of Information, culture and Tourism, Mr Rotimi Babalola commended UNICEF for its efforts in ensuring the wellbeing of children and women.

UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor in her remarks said access to quality healthcare is a right of every child and charged the media to assist in reporting issues that would prompt policy makers to take proactive steps and implement policies that would make life better for children, women and other vulnerable groups.

She explained that the objective of the dialogue was to create opportunity for media advocacy on increasing access and uptake of healthcare services for children and venerable populations through the health insurance scheme using Oyo State Health Insurance Agency (OYSHIA) as case study.

Ejiofor said the initiative was also designed to provide media partners with the knowledge and material that would assist them to understand the issues, advocate and report health insurance scheme to create more awareness of it and encourage more people to enrol.

During the dialogue, UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr Adebola Hassan and other experts in their various presentations spoke on the importance and benefits of health insurance and stressed the need to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and ensure good health for the citizenry.

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